Editor's Note: This is the third piece in our Thankfulness series, where we focus on giving thanks and gratitude. Check out 5 Budget Friendly Ways To Give Back and Thanks, Mom, For Teaching Me About Finance.
A whopping 89.4% of businesses in America are companies with less than 20 people, according to the latest U.S. Census.
While massive retailers like Amazon and Wal-Mart put tons of options at our fingertips, Small Business Saturday has brought recognition and attention to "shopping small" for the holidays. Started by American Express in 2010, it encourages Americans to buy from small businesses and promotes different small businesses. It's encouraged action, too —in 2016, 112 million people came out to shop on Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday occurs this year on November 25th.
Shopping with and frequenting small businesses is a great way to boost the economy. But helping those local businesses shouldn't be viewed as an act of charity. While you are giving back when shopping with small businesses, there are also a few specific benefits you'll get that come with "shopping small":
1. Small businesses can have a big economic impact
Small businesses contribute in a variety of ways from economic to environmental. According to ShopKeep, though small businesses usually have less of an environmental impact compared to large retailers, their sales tax contributes to the local economy and have big-picture benefits like; increased innovation, competition to provide the best products and services to consumers, and added jobs.
"In today's economic climate, where it seems that everyone is glued to stock tickers for updates on corporate quarterly profits, it's easy to forget that small businesses are the backbone of local communities," says Sean Kennedy, CEO of Go-Parts.com, an online marketplace for replacement auto parts. "Small businesses ultimately provide the best barometer for the nation's financial strength."
2. Small businesses offer you more
While you can find shops, restaurants, and products, there are some new creative offerings from small businesses available as well.
One interesting concept includes DIY spots where you can learn different skills and do fun activities with your family and friends. Gingham and Eyelet is a sewing studio just outside of Atlanta in Norcross, Ga. that offers sewing classes, camps, workshops, and parties in a fun, non-intimidating environment with all supplies and sewing machines included.
"The heart of my business is to make sewing fun and accessible for even those who have never sewn a stitch with beautiful, useful make-and-take projects," says owner Jaime Stepic.
Many small businesses offer loyalty programs and gift cards to take care of their regular customers and make gift giving easy, too.
3. Small businesses personalize and customize
"Beyond the ‘feel good' aspect of supporting a local business person, small businesses offer a level of personal attention and often unique products and services you can't find in larger businesses," explains Stepic. "Small businesses also create a culture around communities that is impossible to manufacture in any other way. Supporting a small business is a mutually beneficial move."
The care and specialization that comes along with many small businesses are tough to replicate on a mass-production level. Mayer Jewelers is a small family jewelry store in downtown Lake Wales, Fl that's been open for almost 45 years. "There's not much my daddy won't try to fix for a customer," says Briana Mayer, the store's manager.
Aside from retail, Mayer Jewelers also designs one-of-a-kind pieces for customers, including using existing gold, diamonds or other material so that it can remain family jewelry. "Our loyal customers are loyal because they know they are getting the best service and quality work for a really fair price," Mayer adds.
4. Small businesses are thankful when you shop with them
When you shop with small businesses, you're having a direct positive impact on the owner or owners and their family, as well as the people who work there. Many small businesses find it tough today to compete with the internet and so many large retailers. Costs like leases, business licenses and more to cover when they open their doors, and many ongoing costs to cover along the way. They may seek investors, tap into savings or have to go into debt using credit or personal loans.
Beast Little Cannery, owned by Missy and Matt Stocks, makes and sells small batch canned goods in Lilburn, GA. They started out making and selling pickles to friends to cover some extra costs and after rave reviews knew they were onto something. Because they sell food products, they had additional learning and costs including specific regulations as well as working with the FDA and the food extension office at the University of Georgia to get up and running. Their long-term goal is to give a portion of revenue to local organizations that help dogs, a cause near and dear to their hearts.
There are tons of stories from small business owners about the amazing start they had and care that goes into their businesses. Shopping with small businesses helps the businesses you frequent, the local economy, and you get some quality products and services along the way—while knowing you're doing something good for people who will appreciate it.
So shop with a small business on Small Business Saturday, November 25th, and year-round!
Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, or other company, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. All information, including rates and fees, are accurate as of the date of publication.